Diplomatic community, int’l organisations support Guyana’s COVID-19 vaccination campaign

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In a bid to push for more vaccinations, a number of diplomatic missions and international institutions resident in Guyana are coming on board to support the Government of Guyana’s vaccination drive.

The diplomats urged persons to get vaccinated in a combined message, pointing out that COVID-19 continues to be a major challenge for the global community. They noted that the highly contagious variants of the virus are disrupting economies and putting strain on healthcare systems worldwide.

“Vaccines have been developed scientifically and there is empirical evidence that shows that they are very effective in combatting the virus and preventing serious illness and hospitalisation even if someone contracts the virus,” the diplomats said.

The bodies noted that the Government of Guyana, through the Ministry of Health, has launched an aggressive national vaccination campaign to vaccinate all eligible Guyanese, as well as visitors in Guyana. According to the missions, their own staff are required to be vaccinated. They also reiterated the importance of Guyana achieving herd immunity.

“The missions and international organisations are encouraging their staff, colleagues and friends to get vaccinated and during diplomatic activities organised by the Diplomatic Corps, full vaccination of members is a requirement and all preventative measures are strictly adhered to.”

“We would also like to take this opportunity to encourage all eligible persons in Guyana to get vaccinated at one of the many sites offered by the Ministry of Health and to observe the key measures suggested by the World Health Organisation to avoid infection; that is to say, the use of face masks, adequate social distancing and frequent hand washing or hand disinfection,” they stated in their message.

The signatories to the message included the Embassy of the British High Commission, the Canadian High Commission, the Delegation of the European Union, the Indian High Commission, the Embassy of the Republic of Cuba (Dean of the Diplomatic Corps) and the Embassies of Argentina, China, Malta, Mexico, Russia, Suriname, United States and Venezuela.

Meanwhile, international organisations included the Inter-American Institute for Co-operation on Agriculture, the Inter-American Development Bank, the International Organisation for Migration, the Caribbean Agricultural Research and Development Institute, the Food and Agriculture Organisation, the lwokrama International Centre, the United Nations Children Fund, the United Nations Development Programme, the United Nations Population Fund and the United Nations Aids Secretariat.

For the month of August so far, 64 persons have died – 16 of which were reported by the Ministry within the past week. Meanwhile, recent figures show that 28 patients are currently in the COVID-19 Intensive Care Unit. There are also 104 persons in institutional isolation, 1576 in-home isolation and nine in institutional quarantine. Guyana’s active cases have peaked to a whopping 1708.

Meanwhile, some 22,829 have recovered from the life-threatening virus.

In the Region of the Americas, over 82 million infections have been reported with two million deaths. Globally, cases have surpassed 214 million with an excess of 4.4 million deaths.

Pan American Health Organisation (PAHO) Director, Dr Carissa Etienne had announced recently that only about 23 per cent of people in the region have been fully vaccinated, and in many countries, coverage is much lower.

Additionally, the United States, Mexico, and Brazil reported the highest number of cases. Many Central American countries, including Belize, Guatemala and Honduras are experiencing a rise in COVID-19 infections. Jamaica, Puerto Rico, and smaller Caribbean islands such as Saint Vincent and the Grenadines and Dominica have reported steep increases in new infections and deaths.